Facebook ran into controversy when it conducted a psychology experiment on nearly 700,000 users without their knowledge / Getty Images

“No reasonable person” can be expected to understand the terms and conditions

Millions of Britons are using social networks without realising what they are sacrificing in privacy because companies such as Facebook use excessively complicated terms and conditions, MPs warn today.

Legislation could be introduced to force social media companies to simplify how people’s personal data is being used, says the Commons Science and Technology Committee, which is calling on the Government to issue guidelines on better practice.

At present “no reasonable person” can be expected to understand the terms and conditions, say the MPs, who say this has left firms such as Facebook able to access a wealth of personal information and even control over users’ phones. Facebook ran into controversy when it conducted a psychology experiment on nearly 700,000 users without their knowledge.

Andrew Miller, who chairs the  Science and Technology Committee, said: “Facebook’s experiment with users’ emotions highlighted serious concerns about the extent to which, ticking the terms and conditions box, can be said to constitute informed consent.”

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